Is Technology and Data Spooky?!

Let’s be real. Technology is getting creepy. It’s the scary teacher from grade school that somehow always knows what you’re doing even when she isn’t even looking at you. It seems to be watching our every click spanning the vast universe of the Internet. Companies are focusing on developing technology that processes all of our data to make inferences that could help them turn us into customers, or more importantly, into advocates for their brand. Recently, a brand we’re all familiar with, Netflix, held a competition that rewarded a million dollars (no one we knew won to note) to the group that could create an algorithm that could create better movie suggestions for their members.

It is becoming more and more noticeable to all of us we know; the advertisements on Facebook are generated by endless data based on your profile and pictures posted. Did you notice if you’re wearing a certain brand or piece of clothing that you’ll somehow get an ad with that same information in it? It’s all about targeting, but that’s almost scary targeting! (They’re watching you)!

We have now a developed generation that focuses on individuality, and this evolution inspires us to publicize ourselves on social platforms such as Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, among others. The science behind this data as stated above is rapidly growing due to the high demand of how to use it despite how complicated it is. Going back to the Netflix competition, out of the thousands that entered their competition, only two teams were actually able to create algorithms that improved movie suggestions by ten percent. Acquiring data is easy, but making successful inferences from all of that data is the hard part. But even the smallest improvement can make a large difference by using data properly, which is why companies aren’t afraid to invest.

We’ve been thinking about that a lot on our end here at B Culture Media. How can we help the industry understand what to extract, or more importantly, what to put in place to make that extraction of data all the more usable from the get-go? And, how can we help them understand to the ‘T’ what their target audiences’ want so that all those ad monies are spent wisely. We feel it’s a bit like being Beauty from “Beauty and the Beast” and you have all of this amazing food enticing you to “be their guest”, but instead of that cute dancing cake, now it happens to be advertisements for billions of things you can put into practice to give you lots and lots of data…but, at the end of the day, what does that all translate into? Sales? Growth? Advocacy? What are you Mr./Mrs. X Brand actually searching for?

That’s what makes us understand that we’re circling around back to the technology/data days that existed before the Internet craze started. We need to fully understand the depth of a business, what they need to accomplish, and put into place strategies and metrics to ensure that the “cool” marketing recommendations using innovative technology will actually help an entire organization meet their business goals. Big data is useful, spooky targeted ads are useful, but you have to understand first as to why it’s useful and what you want out of it. I mean, of course besides tracking traffic to a website and the numbers of fans on social channels… those are easy!

@natbdold

@claudiavon

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London 2012: Get Social!

The 2012 London Olympics have been called the world’s first “social games” by some. Will they actually be that “social?” Good question; however, there’s no denying the influence Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube will have. 2008 was the last Olympic games (Beijing). In Internet-years, that is a long, long time: a long enough time for social media to continue to evolve into an instantaneous upload and equally impatient audience. With internationally popular sports being featured, such as basketball, soccer, swimming, track and field, among others, a global stir will surely garner attention. Combine that with the ever-increasing worldwide Internet usage (estimated to be one-third of the world’s population by the games’ start), and the recipe for Olympic-sized social media is set!

Facebook: According to Facebook, the website has over 900 million users, which in 2008 had just broken the 100 million-user landmark. See the difference?

Instagram: Since Instagram launched in 2010, we will see the influence the recently acquired-by-Facebook App will have on these games. #LondonOlympics2012 maybe?

Twitter: 2008: 6 million registered users sending about 300,000 tweets per day. 2012: 500 million registered users sending about 400,000,000 tweets per day. You do the math. With regular breaking news tweeting, follow your favorite sports for live updates as they happen.
Silver and bronze medals: Pinterest, Foursquare (didn’t exist in 2008).

YouTube: YouTube has undergone some changes since 2008… Expect epic moments and down-to-the-wire finishes to be posted minutes after the final results are tallied.

Honorable mention: Google+ (also didn’t exist in 2008; great outlet, just not sure of the speed of the feed).

How will you utilize your social media outlets to interact with the 2012 Olympic Games?

@BCulture_Matt

Art.sy

What is Art.sy? Think Pinterest meets Pandora splashing in Etsy. Intrigued? I was too and decided to ask for an invite to the beta version. Currently, with over 15,000 works by over 3,000 artists, Art.sy’s library will only continue to gain momentum. I recently was accepted, and enjoy the website very much.

The site takes from many galleries and many of the works are available for purchase. You are assigned a specific agent (hi Natalie!), so if you ever are interested in purchasing a specific piece, you simply inquire about its availability and price to your agent, and he/she does the rest.

You can browse by style, contemporary, subject matter, medium or technique, or region. You can filter out the works you are interested in by medium, color, size, and availability for purchase. You can also build your own personal “collection” by highlighting the pieces you like (in this case, a star, but basically a “thumbs up” a la Pandora or Facebook). This leads to the The Art Genome Project™ (more on that later). You can also follow specific artists and receive email alerts when new artwork by them is added. From Picasso to Degas to Warhol to Dalí to Duchamp to countless numbers of contemporary, modern artists, Art.sy’s collection is ever-growing.

The site is reminiscent of WikiPaintings.org in regards to browsing through various artists and artwork, but there are several differences that make the leap between the two sites a potentially great concept. The most interesting concept to me is The Art Genome Project™, which “is an ongoing effort to map the characteristics that connect the world’s artists and artworks.” These are called “genes.” There are currently over 800 genres, ranging from the more art-historical or conceptual (see Renaissance, Minimalism and Gender Politics) to the more concrete (see Collage, Landscape and Impasto).

With plans to add written content, video, and the ability to share works through social media outlets, Art.sy is one website to watch. If a picture says 1,000 words, what does a website with thousands of pictures say? A lot.

@BCulture_Matt

Who Said Press Releases Can’t Have POP?

Kellogg’s Press Release

There is certainly a pun used here, and definitely meant to be one! Sure, press releases have been around for how long (Wikipedia says the first one was written and sent out onto the “wire” in 1906- First Press Release – Wikipedia), but how have they evolved over time?

Above is a great example of what press releases can look like today. Who says they have to be dry and boring giving only facts. Instead, they can POP (again, pun- intended) like this example above from Kellogg’s and their infamous POP Tart (we all loved them as kids, admit it). They can integrate video, look creative, and can include other exciting ways to speak to your target audiences.

Building on the B Culture Media’s brand storytelling knowledge base, this is really where innovation happens. When you take something like a press release and turn it into a powerful brand storytelling medium using things you’d never traditionally think should be incorporated.

This kind of press release isn’t new by any means (not like this just came out yesterday), but it’s always good to get back to roots and examine how things can be done at a very basic level. Last thing that should happen is for brands to get in a rut doing the same things they’ve always done “just because”…

Another great POPPING press release: DIY Network Landscaping Press Release

@natbdold

Pinterest Marketing Cheatsheet

Here are some things to remember when “pinning” for a brand. If you are new to Pinterest, check out our post on how other brands are using this new platform for their marketing efforts!

Pin Timing

  • Best time to pin on weekends is Saturday morning
  • Best day to pin on weekdays is Thursday
  • Best time to pin is 2-4PM EST and 8PM-1AM EST
  • Always lookout for trends
General To-Dos
  • Appeal to many interests
  • Update boards & pins regularly
  • Pin bucket-list content (inspirations and aspirations)
  • Promote an idea, content, or product
Pin Image
  • Beautiful & clear images
  • Give value and target emotion
  • Relate images to trends
  • Vertically longer images work better
  • Vary Images: add text onto images; change brightness; modify image filters; crop or resize
General Board
  • Place your boards into a Pinterest category
  • Stick to one niche per board
  • Use searchable keywords in board names
  • Choose a compelling board cover
Pin Description
  • Evoke a call-to-action
  • Short words, simple context
  • Descriptive and targeted
  • Use searchable keywords
  • Use hashtags
  • Try links
  • Add price ($)
  • Try using “@”
General Profile
  • Reflect interests using your profile photo and description
  • Name with understandable keywords
  • Add your FB, Twitter & site for increased exposure
  • Keep a general tone
Source: Pinerly
Don’t forget to ALWAYS measure the results so you can spend your time wisely and enhance your brand story!

How To Measure Pinterest

You might be using Pinterest for your brand, which is great…but how are you measuring?

Here are my picks for tools to use to measure your success with Pinterest for your brand. In no specific order!

1.Pinpuff
This tool is great at measuring your performance overall. It helps you figure out what you can improve on your page by providing scores – Activity Score, Pinfluence Score, Virality Score, etc. It also allows you to put a dollar value on your pinners and pins. Not sure how accurate the scoring system is, but it is nice to help you start thinking about its worth.

The only downside I see with this tool is you can’t view historical information. You can only see what your stats are for that day.

2. Pinerly
This one is still in Beta, but I recommend signing up now to get access when launched to the public. It promises to visually measure click-throughs, likes and repins for “campaigns” created through the service. More to come on this one!

3. PinReach
This is the most comprehensive of them all. It breaks out your PinReach history (pulled in by date range), stats on your boards individually so you can see what board is your leader, what your most popular pins are, etc. It also gives you insight into who your influencers are and what is trending right now on Pinterest.

It also gives you the ability to export your data for easy reporting.

This is only three, there are tons of them out there. Which ones have you found helpful?

@bculture_britt